Fox News VP Sammon claims poll shows people "don't want the public option" -- but poll shows the opposite

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI & MATT GERTZ

On the August 18 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, after co-host Bill Hemmer noted the results of an Ipsos/McClatchy poll question -- which he incorrectly said was an ABC News poll question -- asking if the public option would provide better care than private plans, Fox News vice president for news and Washington managing editor Bill Sammon claimed that "people are saying they don't want the public option, as that poll demonstrates." However, when the Ipsos/McClatchy poll specifically asked respondents if they believed "it is necessary to create a public health insurance plan," 52 percent of respondents agreed. Numerous other recent polls also show that a majority of Americans support a public option.

From the August 18 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:

HEMMER: We've seen the way it's been batted around the last 24 hours. One month ago, ABC News did a poll; they wanted to figure out whether or not you think a government-run option would be -- would give you higher-quality care or lower-quality care or no difference at all. On the screen -- 76 percent said it would make either no difference at all or lower-quality care.

Boy, you look at those numbers from a month ago, and you look at the town halls that have happened over the past four or five weeks, you wonder where those numbers are today, Bill.

SAMMON: Well, that's true. And, you know, you have to -- you have to figure that President Obama is feeling whipsawed, because on the one hand, people are saying they don't want the public option, as that poll demonstrates. Republicans are showing up at these town hall meetings and objecting. On the other hand, you've got liberal Democrats saying, look, you better put that public option back in there.

While Hemmer spoke, Fox News displayed the following graphic on screen:

sammonpoll

While Hemmer and a Fox News graphic sourced the polling results to an "ABC News" poll, the results are actually from an Ipsos/McClatchy poll conducted from July 9-13:

sammonpollresults

Poll Sammon referenced found 52 percent believe it is "necessary to create a public health insurance plan"

Ipsos/McClatchy: 52 percent say "it is necessary to create a public health insurance plan." In a July 9-13 Ipsos/McClatchy poll, 52 percent of respondents said that the statement -- "It is necessary to create a public health insurance plan to make sure that all Americans have access to quality health care" -- came "closest to [their] opinion" of "whether or not the government should create a public health insurance plan as an alternative to private insurance."

Other polls -- including ABC News poll that Hemmer and Sammon incorrectly cited -- find majority support public option

Several recent polls found that a majority support a public option. Recent polling from Washington Post/ABC News and Time all found more than 50 percent support for a public option; two Quinnipiac polls and a New York Times/CBS News poll found more than 60 percent support. A Fox News poll found 44 percent supporting the public option.

Quinnipiac: 62 percent support "public option." When asked whether they "support or oppose giving people the option of being covered by a government health insurance plan that would compete with private plans," 62 percent of respondents in a July 27-August 3 Quinnipiac poll said they support giving people a public option. In a July poll asking the same question, 69 percent said they support a public option.

Washington Post/ABC News: 54 percent support a "government-run plan." A July 15-18 Washington Post/ABC News poll asked: "Thinking about health care, one proposal to insure nearly everyone would require all Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty on their income tax, excluding those with lower incomes. It would require most employers to offer health coverage or pay a fee. There would be a government-run plan to compete with private insurers. And income taxes on people earning more than 280-thousand dollars a year would be raised to help fund the program. Taken together, would you support or oppose this plan? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?" Fifty-four percent of respondents said they would support the plan.

Time: 56 percent favor a "government-sponsored" option. In a July 27-28 Time poll, 56 percent of respondents said they would favor a health care bill that "creates a government-sponsored public health insurance option to compete with private health insurance plans."

NY Times/CBS News: 66 percent favor a "government administered" plan. When respondents were asked in a July 24-28 New York Times/CBS News poll whether they would "favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get -- that would compete with private health insurance plans," 66 percent said they would support the plan.

NBC News/Wall Street Journal: 46 percent favor a plan "administered by the federal government." However, at least one poll, conducted July 24-27 by NBC News/Wall Street Journal, shows a split opinion on the public option. When respondents were asked whether they would "favor or oppose creating a public health care plan administered by the federal government that would compete directly with private health insurance companies," 46 percent said they would favor such a plan, while 44 percent said they would oppose it; 10 percent of respondents were not sure. MSNBC.com reported at noon E.T. on August 18 -- after the Fox News segment -- that an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted August 15-17 found that 47 percent "oppose the public plan, versus 43 percent who support it."

Fox News: 44 percent favor "creation of a government-run health insurance plan." A Fox News poll, conducted July 21-22, found that 44 percent favor the "creation of a government-run health insurance plan that would compete in the market place against private insurance plans," while 48 percent oppose the plan; 7 percent responded that they don't know.

Transcript

From the August 18 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:

HEMMER: We've seen the way it's been batted around the last 24 hours. One month ago, ABC News did a poll; they wanted to figure out whether or not you think a government-run option would be -- would give you higher-quality care or lower-quality care or no difference at all. On the screen -- 76 percent said it would make either no difference at all or lower-quality care.

Boy, you look at those numbers from a month ago, and you look at the town halls that have happened over the past four or five weeks, you wonder where those numbers are today, Bill.

SAMMON: Well, that's true. And, you know, you have to -- you have to figure that President Obama is feeling whipsawed, because on the one hand, people are saying they don't want the public option, as that poll demonstrates. Republicans are showing up at these town hall meetings and objecting. On the other hand, you've got liberal Democrats saying, look, you better put that public option back in there.

Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York actually said, look, we feel betrayed in the Democratic Party by the Obama administration. We actually have -- we Democrats have a tire track across our chest from being thrown under the bus. So he's getting it from the left and from the right. My suspicion is that the health -- the public option or the government-run insurance program, which is really what it is, will possibly be taken out but ultimately be put back in, because I think Republicans are going to vote against this plan whether it has that so-called public option or not. And in the end, Democrats are going to go to the so-called nuclear option, which is to say, Bill, they'll change the Senate rules so you don't have to have 60 votes to pass it, you'll have to have 50 votes to pass it.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Bill Sammon, Bill Hemmer
Show/Publication
America's Newsroom
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